Tinker Belland all her fairy friends, along with residents of Chinatown, are invading Bacolod’s famous miniature Christmas Village this December to once again bring magic to the holiday season.
Artist-designer Bamboo Tonogbanua’s famous Christmas Village at his ancestral home at San Juan Street will be on its 18th-year run when it opens for the Christmas Season this Saturday.
The 10-foot high Christmas Village, from its highest snow-covered mountain and magical castles in the sky to its earthbound objects in a six by eight meter room, now has more than 5,000 miniature objects on display, with the other half in storage for lack of space.
Every year, Tonogbanua brings a new twist to the village with objects he collects from his travels, so each Christmas, one’s visit to his home is always a joy.
This year, the village that has sections that represent various parts of the world has a new neighborhood – Chinatown. A hundred miniature red lanterns, a fire burning in the snow-covered grounds, restaurants in pagoda-like buildings, a Chinese antique store with a Chinaman selling his wares, a parade with a marching band and a dragon float, a welcome arch and numerous other minute details that Tonogbanua is famous for abound.
A few feet away, a pink castle has sprouted on a snow-capped hill with Tinker Bell flying in circles above it.
Royalty in their finery stroll the grounds of the castle while on the hillside beneath it, tiny fairies frolic, swans float in a pond as Cinderella and Snow White stroll by, and magical creatures live in a pumpkin house in a cave.
At the riverbank at the entrance of the village, Cleopatra, reclining in her royal barge, is being rowed by her slaves. It is her first Christmas at the village and she is accompanied by her royal guards.
Other new attractions at the village are Clinton’s Butchers Shop, new skating rinks and more skaters, on top of many other mainstay attractions that include Ferris wheels, parachute drops, saucer and tornado rides, ski drops, and railways all moving at the same time to the beat of Christmas music and miniature lights.
The wizards flying around castles in the clouds in the middle of the room, and the many quaint houses of different shapes and sizes with people rushing about with Christmas chores, are still at the village.
And amid all these modern-day Christmas attractions, Tonogbanua has not forgotten what lies at the heart of Christmas.
In a prominent hill in the village lies baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph, as a guiding star shines above the manger scene. The three kings bearing gifts, along with many animals, circle around the manger on a rotating platform.
Tonogbanua started his Christmas village in 1996 as his collection of miniature Christmas houses and objects increased, and at first covered only about 32 square-feet.
As a child, he said he was fascinated by Victorian and new England villages on Christmas cards so he recreated them in his Christmas Village that has a become a feast for the eyes over the years.*Carla P. Gomez